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Why Vauxhall and not Opel in the UK?

When you drive around the continent you’ll come across a lot of Astras and Corsas but they don’t wear Vauxhall badges. So why Vauxhall and not Opel in the UK?

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History

During the 1970s, General Motors began merging the product lines of Opel and Vauxhall. This was done largely in favour of Opel vehicles so by the end of the 1970s, most Vauxhalls were little more than rebadged Opels, although some models still used engines designed and built by the British brand. Throughout the 1980s, this trend continued. The original Astra that was launched in 1980 was a rebadged Opel Kadett but in those days you could actually buy the Opel Kadett from dealers in the UK. Up until 1981, UK and Ireland dealerships sold Opel and Vauxhall products side by side but by 1988, Opel badged cars were no longer sold in the UK.

Vauxhall

For the past two decades, Vauxhall has been the second best-selling brand in the UK. That’s probably reason enough for the Vauxhall name to remain on the grille, but they’re also a major employer. The firm’s manufacturing facilities in Luton and at Ellesmere Port currently provide employment for 2,780 workers. Oddly enough, of the cars made in the UK are badged Opel, but that’s because they’re exported to the continent. The majority of Vauxhall badged motors on British roads are produced in Opel factories in other European nations.

Why Vauxhall and not Opel in the UK?

The simple answer is that the British brand that’s owned by the German Adam Opel AG group, itself a wholly owned subsidiary of the American General Motors, began life as Vauxhall way before the Opel / GM take over. The brand sells around 250,000 units per year and employs 4,000 people so there are also financial reasons why the Vauxhall name hasn’t been consigned to history.

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